South Korea‘s ambassador to Japan Lee Byung-kee urged for Tokyo and Seoul to cooperate when it comes to checking the fisheries exports in light of radiation issues from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. He met on Tuesday with representatives from five Japanese fishing industry groups who were protesting about the ban that South Korea imposed on all fishery products from eight Japanese prefectures near the site of the Fukushima nuclear facility.
The ambassador emphasized that it would help to restore trust in Japan if they would ask one of the neighbouring countries or a representative from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to join the inspection of the products to make sure that they are not contaminated. However, as of the moment, he said the ban is “unavoidable” because their priority is the safety of the Korean consumers and the concerns are not just about Japanese fisheries, but all marine products in general.
Hiroshi Kishi, head of Japan’s National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations, claims that there is no scientific basis for the import ban and is unfair to the Japanese fishermen. The ban began on Septmber 9, after the operator of the Fukushima plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), admitted that around 300 tons of contaminated water has leaked from the tanks and may have even reached the Pacific Ocean. Yoon Jin-sook, South Korea’s minister of oceans and fisheries, criticized Japan for downplaying and covering up the leaks for so long. He said they decided to enforce the ban as soon as they could because they could not ignore the fears of their citizens.
[ via Chosun Ilbo ]